Publisher: Marshall Cavendish
Publication Date: May 15, 2012
Type: E-galley from publisher, via NetGalley
3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life.
Sherry and her family have lived sealed in a bunker in the garden since things went wrong up above. Her grandfather has been in the freezer for the last three months, her parents are at each other’s throats and two minutes ago they ran out of food.
Sherry and her father leave the safety of the bunker and find a devastated and empty LA, smashed to pieces by bombs and haunted by ‘Weepers’ - rabid humans infected with a weaponized rabies virus.
While searching for food in a supermarket, Sherry’s father disappears and Sherry is saved by Joshua, a boy-hunter. He takes her to Safe-haven, a tumble-down vineyard in the hills outside LA, where a handful of other survivors are picking up the pieces of their ‘other lives’. As she falls in love for the first time, Sherry must save her father, stay alive and keep Joshua safe when his desire for vengeance threatens them all.
A quick read, an enjoyable read, and nothing particularly grating, but nothing that stands out as particularly new or exceptional.
This was not, by any means, a bad book. I enjoyed it. I liked the main character, who could actually fight for herself and those she cared about. I liked Joshua, who was a far healthier and more likable love interest than you'll find in many YA novels today, though I was not particularly fond of how long (chronologically) it took them to fall for one another. I liked the fast plot and tense action sequences, which were most likely why I got through this in less than day. I liked that family was such a constant presence in this, something of real importance, not something to be brushed aside in favor of a hot romance.
But despite those, there wasn't that . . . spark in this, that extra something that demands my full attention, captures my emotions, convinces me that I am not a reader, but rather an invisible spectator to the fantastic events unfolding before me. I was never fully invested. There was the idle hope that things would turn out alright, but that tends to be a constant presence in any book I read, unless I really, really loathe the characters. In this case, while I passively wished for things to turn out dandy--for Shirley to find her dad alive, for her and Joshua to get together, for all of them to emerge with their livelihood and humanity still intact--I wasn't devastated when things didn't go as planned. I wasn't elated when they did. I just couldn't bring myself to care, beyond cringing at Shirley's wounds. And that, I'm afraid, resulted more from my squeamishness than genuine sympathy.
Also, the concept, while readable and fairly interesting, never felt like anything particularly shocking or new. It's not that it was especially similar to any one book out there; it's just that I couldn't find any elements I'd never seen before. While I was intrigued by both the idea and execution of the Weepers, and I enjoyed the setting, it never wowed me.
And, quite honestly, I think that is the best way to sum up the book in general. It was a quick, enjoyable read, and nothing more. Would I recommend this? Yes, I suppose. It's short, it's entertaining, and I think many out there might find it far more special than I did.